View Full Version : DM Help Dmpc!!!

2015-12-17, 06:54 AM
Never been particularly fond of them due to sheer Mary-Sueness but I'll run it by you guys, I'm playing with a bunch of newbies and need a longstanding NPC to show them the ropes and guide them along, at least for the first few levels. They'll all be starting at level one.

Introducing Sansonnet Human (Fighter 1): HD: 1, , Initiative: +0, Speed: 20ft, AC: 18 (Full plate), Attacks: +5 Greatsword (1d10) or +4 Longsword (1d8), Full attack: +5 Greatsword (1d10) or +4 Longsword (1d8), Saves Fort+4, Ref+0, Will+1, Abilities Str 18, Dex 10, Con 15, Wis 12, Int 10, Cha: 9, Skills: Climb+6, Craft (Weaponsmithing)+4, Ride+2, Feats: Weapon Focus (Greatsword), Toughness.

Ex-Warrant officer of the local guard and has fallen deeply out of practice after being discharged for battle trauma. His stats are markedly above average which is what worries me, but he's there to act as a damage sponge and a damage dealer if the party run particularly foul of the dice for the first few sessions, standard able-body, wounded mind tragic character archetype that'll hopefully get the PC's into the roleplaying side of things, and can start inter-party conversations if the players get cold feet about talking in character.

He's not essential by any means so if he drops he drops, what do you guys think? Should I lower the stat array or keep him as is?

2015-12-17, 07:19 AM
How did you generate the stats? The one time I used a GMPC in D&D I used the standard array when I had everybody else roll 4d6b3 in order, my generous reroll policy meant that stat wise he was weaker than the actual PCs.

My suggestion is to use the standard array, just because he won't outshine the PCs if their players aren't unlucky.

2015-12-17, 07:27 AM
Instead of introducing a GMPC to soak up damage, why not lower the damage output of enemies? And when you want them to talk in-character, just ask them to do that (fair warning: not everyone is into that). I can also pretty much guarantee that a DMPC is unlikely to get players into 'the role-playing side of things,' rich and compelling worlds and NPC's should do that.

If you wanna keep him anyway, I wouldn't do the wounded mind thing, though. PC's will probably not care very much, perhaps even poke fun at him.

Good luck!

2015-12-17, 07:27 AM
Used 4D6b3 for him as I did for the rest of the party, standard array sounds good by me, cheers. Any other ideas for helping them get into the swing of things? (Playing 3.5 if you have any edition specific ideas)

2015-12-17, 08:25 AM
A.) Not all DMPCs have any more Mary Sueness than players.

B.) If you don't like DMPCs don't use one, vary the encounters to the players so that they don't need one, that's easier than managing another character or give the PCs a free cohort they control.

2015-12-17, 09:42 AM
A DMPC is fine as long as they do not break the cardinal rule: Never outshine the PCs.

My personal experience is that DMPCs, especially combat DMPCs added to parties of new players, take too much work to be worth it. Odds are, you will have to help keep track of all the PCs as well as the monsters until they have the basics down.

You are better off giving them a non-combat tagalong for roleplaying purposes and a good "tutorial mission" to teach them the ropes.

2015-12-17, 11:13 AM
Just as the mods can speak as a member, I like to have a DMPC in order to have a non-DM voice in the game.

Particularly for new players, having an npc showing them the ropes by using them - 5-foot steps, flanking, aid another, concentration checks to avoid AoO when casting, etc - can be helpful. Or the reverse - an incompetent npc who shows them what *not* to do by drawing unnecessary AoOs. Different people learn things differently, so give the new players every opportunity to learn, no matter what their learning style.

In that vein, I recommend optimizing this dmpc to help the PCs see the rules in practice. Personally, I wouldn't worry too much about the stat array - just have him leave when he has outlived his usefulness / when the party tires of him.

Also, for purposes of encouraging rp... I would recommend diverse situations, with a cast of different characters, not just, "here's this one DMPC to help you rp". Give the players the opportunity to interact with the busty tavern wench, the shady quest giver, the crippled beggar, the hungry orphan, etc etc.

2015-12-17, 11:29 AM
Got it, cheers for all the help. :smallsmile:

Mando Knight
2015-12-17, 12:04 PM
For shepherding newbies, the "crutch character" archetype can definitely be used as a DMPC if you do it right, like Fire Emblem's "Jagen-type" characters or Final Fantasy IV's Tellah: they're old guys with lots of experience... but they're old. So while they're higher level than the main characters, their age has caught up to them so they're really only marginally better than their younger companions and don't have much room to grow stronger, unlike the players' characters.

2015-12-17, 12:36 PM
I usually run a single DMPC in my campaigns, almost always as a mentor of sorts, I give them higher levels, but then apply the stat modifiers for old age and have them not participate in combat except for when things get really bad.

my current campaign is a Star Wars one where the DMPC is a 55 year old ex bounty hunter who is usually just getting jobs for the party to do, and owns the parties current ship. I also plan to kill him off soon because the party is starting to outgrow his need, and it'd supply them with a vendetta against the killer.

2015-12-17, 12:37 PM
I see two problems:

Too strong: 18 Strength is a lot. Move it to CON.
A normal level 1 guy can't afford Full Plate. Take it down to Breastplate.